Burqa-clad suicide bomber kills 4 French soldiers in Afghanistan


A file picture taken on December 13, 2008 shows an Afghan woman (L) holding her child as a boy looks up at French soldiers as they patrol in the village of Surobi, some 60 Kms east of Kabul. The French president's office on Saturday confirmed that four French soldiers were killed and five were wounded in an attack claimed by the Taliban in Afghanistan's eastern Kapisa province.


Joel Saget

A suicide bomber disguised in a burqa killed four French soldiers in an assault in eastern Afghanistan today, reported Reuters

The attack took place in the eastern mountainous Kapisa province, an area mostly controlled by French troops serving in the NATO coalition, said Reuters

Officials said the violence -- which has been claimed by the Taliban -- also left five soldiers wounded, according to Agence-France Press

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Afghan Interior Ministry spokesman Sediq Sediqqi described the attack as "unfortunate" in comments to Reuters, saying the troops were targeted at a little bazaar "by a suicide bomber wearing a burqa."

French President Francois Hollande today said France would pay "national homage" to the victims and promised to ensure high security for the 3,500 French troops stationed in Afghanistan. He also said the withdrawal of the nation's forces -- expected to be completed by the end of the year -- will start next month, said AFP

The deaths are the first French fatalities in Afghanistan since Hollande was elected last month. France's new leader also requested that Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian leave tomorrow for a visit to Afghanistan, reported AFP